[Imports] Import of buildings heights in Montpellier, France

Russ Garrett russ at garrett.co.uk
Thu Nov 2 00:57:00 UTC 2017

n 1 November 2017 at 20:27, Vincent Frison <vincent.frison at gmail.com> wrote:
> But in this case I think we really need help with an explicit authorization
> model to ask the owners. Because there personnally I do not even see how I
> could formulate my question and I think that must be the case for most
> people who make imports into OSM.

By asking the copyright owner to give OSM the right to re-license
their data as OSM sees fit, you're effectively asking them to release
it into the public domain. By itself, this is a huge ask. "Explicit
authorization" isn't a license, and there must be a written license,
so we must be specific here.

There is a huge amount of ODbL-only licensed data in OSM already. To
name just a few instances, the massive AND Netherlands import [1],
plus everything derived from the UK's Ordnance Survey OpenData [2],
much of which is raster data which has been traced individually by
users and would likely be impossible to effectively remove from the
OSM database.

Working out derived works in a GIS seems to be a legal minefield in
itself - if you use ways which are imported from an ODbL-only source
to help align your own mapping, are you creating a derived work?

My impression is that any opportunity for a relicensing event as
alluded to by the Contributor Terms has long since passed. A
significant part of the OSM database is either covered by ODbL-only
licenses or may be considered to be derived from ODbL-only sources.

I'm not sure if this even matters, though. The License FAQ [3] does
express reservations about importing data which could be removed by a
future license change. But we're talking about *building heights* here
- it would be simple to clearly identify the source of this data, and
it's highly unlikely that there would be any derived works created
from building heights. It's probably one of the most independent
pieces of data you could possibly import into OSM.

This discussion just seems like unnecessary pedantry here, and I think
if clarification is sought on these (rather technical) legal aspects,
the correct place to do so would be on the legal mailing list.



[1] https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/AND_Data
[2] https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Ordnance_Survey_Opendata
[3] http://wiki.osmfoundation.org/wiki/Licence/Licence_and_Legal_FAQ#Can_third-party_ODbL-licensed_data_be_imported.3F

Russ Garrett
russ at garrett.co.uk

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